Remove the stalks and any damaged fruit, wash and crush the grapes in a pre-sanitised fermenting bucket. Strain into a 1-gallon demijohn through a nylon or muslin bag, pressing as much as possible to collect as much juice as possible. Then place the pulp to one side. It may be necessary to top up with cooled boiled water to 4½litres T
he sugar content of the juice should then be checked using a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity. It should read around 1.085. If the reading is lower, stir in a sugar solution (made by dissolving 500g of sugar into a small amount of boiling water) until a hydrometer reading of 1.085 is achieved. Alternatively, grape concentrate can be used and this will improve the body and flavour of the wine.
Home-grown grapes are unlikely to need any acid, but shop-purchased grapes may be very ripe and may need the addition of Acid Blend. As a rough guide add up to 5g (1 teaspoon) of Acid Blend per gallon. To determine the precise amount of Acid Blend to add dip a Ph test strip into the wine. This will provide the actual acid content of your wine. The desirable reading for white wines is approx Ph3.2 and for red wines Ph3.6. Add small amounts of Acid Blend and re-test until the correct Ph is reached.
To make white wine
For White Wine: Mix in the wine yeast, yeast nutrient and Pectinaze. Fit a bung and airlock to the demijohn and leave in a warm place to continue its fermentation. Discard the pulp.
To make red wine
For Red Wine: Pour the juice back into the bucket, add the pulp that was strained off previously, mix in the wine yeast, yeast nutrient and Pectinaze. Leave to ferment on the pulp and skins for 5 days, stirring daily.
After 5 days, strain into a demijohn (4½ litres) through a muslin or nylon bag, pressing as much as possible and discard the pulp. Fit a bung and airlock to the demijohn and leave in a warm place to continue the fermentation.
Fermentation should be complete in 2-4 weeks for both red and white wines. It should then be checked with a hydrometer. The hydrometer will indicate the remaining sugar level and finishing levels as follows:
- Dry Wine-0.990-0.996
- Medium Wine- 0.996-1.009
- Sweet Wine 1.009-1.018
Finishing the Wine
At the end of fermentation add 1 crushed Campden tablet and half a teaspoon of Potassium Sorbate per gallon. Leave in a warm place for 3 days to kill off the yeast. Then the wine should be left to clear in a cool place (15C) before siphoning from the sediment.
Country wines may not clear on their own and it is recommended to add finings. Winefine finings are very effective. When clear you should pass the wine through a Vinbrite filter to obtain a professional finish before bottling.
The wine should now be stored in bulk in a cool dark place to mature for at least 6 months. During this time any rough tastes will be smoothed out and the wine will improve in bouquet and flavour.